A DAD who was told his two-year-old daughter was facing a long battle with cancer has urged people to join him in the OX5 Run to help raise vital funds for Oxford Children’s Hospital.

Maizie Rose, from Abingdon, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma - a rare childhood cancer in the chest and stomach.

But five years on, the now seven-year-old is fighting fit after being given the all clear in April this year.

In that time she has been through countless chemotherapies, operations and overnight stays at the children’s hospital which her parents say were vital to her recovery.

Mr Rose, a taxi driver, said: “Without the staff and care given at the children’s hospital Maizie wouldn’t be here.

“It is that simple. We owe the hospital everything and for us it is that constant 'thank you' for what they have done and how lucky we are to have Maizie with us.”

For the past five years Mr Rose has flung himself into fundraising for the children’s hospital, including tackling the Oxford Mail's OX5 Run at Blenheim Palace each year.

Once again next year he is planning to take to the palace grounds for the five-mile race with his wife Emily and eldest daughter Morgan.

Mr Rose said he expected to have a crowd of people running as Team Maizie again, with the youngster and her newborn brother Arlo cheering from the sidelines.

He said: “I know firsthand what people are getting through the money that is raised for the children’s hospital.

“The treatment, the care, even the toys and puzzles – everything makes a difference to a child’s stay at the hospital.

“Anything that can make a bad situation a little bit easier for the children and their families is worthy.”

Maizie continues to have check-ups with Oxford Children’s Hospital and is currently undergoing tests on her hearing which was affected by the chemotherapy.

But the youngster is all smiles and has even been joining her dad taking part in local Park Runs as he trains for the OX5.

The 2019 OX5 run, sponsored by Allen Associates, will take place on Sunday, March 24, as it returns for the 17th year.

More than 1,000 dedicated runners took part last year to walk, jog or run the course, including more than 20 people as part of Team Maizie.

Over the past 16 years the OX5 has raised more than a million pounds for the Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity, and also funded vital support and monitoring equipment for children at the Horton General Hospital in Banbury and the John Radcliffe's Paediatric Critical Care Unit.

The run has also contributed to the multi-million pound building being built to provide 62 extra bedrooms for parents to stay close to their children at the hospital.

Mr Rose added: “It is such a great hospital to have on our doorstep, we are very lucky.

“People take that for granted but you really do get first class treatment because everyone that works in the children’s hospital including the doctors, nurses, play specialists, consultants, they all really care about the children.”

Talking about the OX5, he added: “The day is just fantastic. It is hard but fun and everyone is there for the same reason because they have been touched in some way by the work of the children’s hospital.

“It is also a beautiful place to run round and as soon as it gets hard running up that hill you remember the people who are going through things a lot harder in hospital and it gets you through.

“I would urge everyone to get involved to help say 'thank you' to the hospital, and if you don’t want to take part, find someone who is and sponsor them.”

Teams and individuals can sign up now to the OX5 Run 2019 and help raise funds for the Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity.

Entry is £17.50 as part of an early bird special offer before February 24.

Runners are expected to raise a minimum of £200 for the cause and to help the children’s hospital continue its vital work.

To sign up online see ox5run.co.uk or contact 01865 743444 or charity@ouh.nhs.uk for more details.